‘People don’t know how important food is’: New school nutrition chief serving up breakfast every day
August 23, 2018
Editor's note: Chris DelSordo is the new food services director for Eagle County Schools. This is the second part of a two-part series on his approach to nourishing Eagle County students. Find the first part at http://www.vaildaily.com.
EAGLE — Breakfast for every kid, every school day.
That's Chris DelSordo's mission. He's the Eagle County school district's new nutrition services director, and when the school year starts, so will school breakfast.
Every local student eligible for free and reduced lunch in every school can have free breakfast if they want it, under federal guidelines, DelSordo said. If you're not eligible for free and reduced lunch, then you can still get breakfast, but it'll cost you a couple of bucks.
"People don't know how important food is. Just to have food for the kids is going to be good," DelSordo said.
They have 30 minutes to serve hundreds of kids breakfast in each school, so they'll have to move quickly. Cereal, of course. Fruit, breakfast breads, certainly, and possibly, bagels with sausage and eggs.
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DelSordo plans every menu for every school for an entire year.
First, he said, you figure out what you want to serve. Then you have to find the food, and then the federal government has to approve it for nutritional content — grains, meats, low fats — the stuff you're supposed to eat.
"It would be boring if you just threw some food out there and called it good," he said, smiling.
Then he crunches numbers, calculating what it costs per plate. He has $1.67 per plate for food, paper and everything else.
"We don't get money from the general fund or other sources. We make enough to sustain our program, and that's it," he said.
Most of the Styrofoam is gone. If it's not washable or compostable, then it's gone, DelSordo said. There's an offset, though. A Styrofoam plate costs 7 cents. A compostable plate costs 21 cents. Add milk to that for 33 cents, and all that has to come out of the $1.67 he gets to spend to feed your kids.
No more junk food pizza
Speaking of things neither they nor you will feed your kids, the square pizza was the first thing to go. DelSordo replaced it with real pizza made fresh.
"A lot of parents complain about pizza. We use lower fat cheese and homemade sauce. I guarantee they'll love it," DelSordo said.
At the high schools, four of the five days of the school week they'll have a different food bar: Asian, Mexican, a wing bar and a pasta bar.
On Mexican day, the tortillas are whole wheat and the meats are prepared right there. Same for the Asian bar — brown rice and whole wheat lo mein noodles — and the wing bar. The pasta bar features vegetarian marinara and Alfredo sauce. Carnivores can get meatballs.
If something works, then they'll improve it. If something doesn't, then they'll get rid of it and try something else, DelSordo said.
The kids get to decide what food they eat. A tasting committee — students and parents — will sample new foods.
"It doesn't really matter what I like. It's whether they'll eat it," he said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and email@example.com.